San Diego stands up to the cuts

May 12, 2010

SAN DIEGO--Nearly 1,000 demonstrators rallied here May 8 to defend public education, responding to the ongoing education cuts imposed by the state of California.

The crowd consisted primarily of parents and students from local schools, but also included members of several unions, including the San Diego Education Association, California School Employees Association, American Federation of Teachers and California Nurses Association.

The crowd was entertained by the San Diego High School Mariachi Band, one of several student groups that were present to show their support. Many speakers emphasized the harmful nature of the cuts to K-12 education.

"It is very frustrating for me to be in a classroom with 41 students," explained Nathan, an eighth grader at Perkins. "It's hard for our teachers to teach and get to know each student. Our school does not have money for field trips. Nobody wants to use the bathrooms because they have no toilet paper."

Some signs connected the cuts in education to the racist attacks on immigrants. "Fund education, not racial profiling," said one student's sign.

Notably lacking at this event, however, was a clear statement of possible solutions to California's budget crisis. The speakers, several of whom were local politicians, generally didn't mention the obvious solution: tax the rich and corporations to fund social services. Our movement must provide a clear left alternative if we are going to win this fight.

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